So, we’ve been talking about belly fat in an ongoing series here at The Nourishing Gourmet. We’ve discussed why certain types of belly fat are very bad for your health, how stress can derail your health and give you a big belly, and discussed making decisions for a peaceful and nonstressful life. We’ve also discussed what dietary changes that could help specifically in preventing and losing belly fat.
I have either a series of short posts on stress-busters, or a long compilation post on how to deal with stress in our lives coming up. But meanwhile, there were a few other things on the subject of “big bellies” I felt important to discuss. Today we are going to discuss diastasis recti.
Sure, sometimes we get a big belly because of the way we eat or the stress in our lives. But there are other reasons too, and a really important one is our stomach muscles. Did you know that women, men, and even children can have the muscles start to separate in their stomach, making it pooch out to form a “big belly”? Unfortunately, certain common exercises can cause this separation to become even worse (and could even cause it in some people).
This isn’t just about vanity, people. This is about helping our muscles properly hold our organs in place and supporting our back, which is an important job! One of the leading experts on this topic is Julia Tupler, who has created a treatment protocol for this condition. On her website she gives symptoms of it, which include, “Back pain, poor posture, pelvic floor problems, gastro- intestinal disturbances like constipation and bloating are all symptoms that occur when the support system for the back and organs is the weak connective tissue instead of the muscles.”
She also says, “How do you know if you have a diastasis? If you have a protruding (pregnant looking) belly OR your belly button is an outie OR you have a half football (alien like) bulge when you lift your shoulders off the ground, you most definitely have a diastasis! An umbilical hernia is a side effect of a diastasis recti.”
Having diastasis recti can make women look pregnant and men look like they have a beer belly.
When I found out about this, I did the self-check of it (as I realized I had many of the symptoms) and I do indeed have diastasis recti. This was why I found that after bearing children, I always have a small “belly”, even when ten pounds underweight! It was really reassuring to find out that this common problem is fixable. While I haven’t put in the time that I need to heal my own yet, it’s on the agenda for this fall.
Sometimes when we see a “big belly” we think, “Oh, I need to lose weight!” But really, we just need to work on certain muscles. But it’s so important to work on this the right way. I do recommend Julia’s book, Losing the Mommy Tummy (Find this book, and her other ones at my affiliate Amazon) and her website, which also has other resources.
And if you are discouraged about having this condition, you need to go and look at the before and after pictures! This protocol really does make a huge difference!
To get an idea of some of the (easy) exercises you will do as part of the healing process, I pinned a few things on my Fitness Pinterest board. It’s not an overwhelming program at all. It’s basically doing about 15-20 minutes of specific exercises a day, avoiding certain movements that make it worse, and using a splint.
But I know some of my readers are well acquainted with this topic. Have you healed diastasis recti before? Do you think you might have it? What has been your experience?